Jessica Rothe and Israel Broussard Discuss Surviving & Dying in 'Happy Death Day'

Angelo Anderson
October 13, 2017

She gets up the next morning with a sense of déjà vu and a deadly end to her day. Because this is a horror movie, Tree does the dumb thing and proceeds down that tunnel even after finding a creepy music box playing the Happy Birthday song and seeing an even creepier person in a giant baby mask (the college's mascot is a baby) at the end of the tunnel.

How similar does Broussard find his character, Carter, to himself? But Tree is an icy sorority girl who doesn't have time for pleasantries like learning his name, and is fast in taking that walk of shame back to her sorority house, also home to head mean girl Danielle (Rachel Matthews) and sweet roommate Lori (Ruby Modine), who presents Tree with a candle-topped cupcake because, of course, it's Tree's death day AND her birthday.

This is where "Happy Death Day" takes a different approach to the genre. Also arriving: the historical drama "Marshall", starring Chadwick Boseman as a young Thurgood Marshall and chronicling one of his earlier court cases; as well as the Jackie Chan action film "The Foreigner", which should benefit from positive notices for Chan's performance.

The film also features a creepy killer who covers his identity with a odd mask. It only takes Tree three or four times of being killed before she realizes that until she figures out the identity of her killer, the day will continue to repeat.

Did Broussard or Rothe get to keep any of the Happy Death Day killer masks? Even with that knowledge, Lobdell's script is so smartly written that each ending comes as a surprise.

The concept of the same day repeating has become familiar in Hollywood, with Groundhog Day just one of the many films and TV shows that have made use of this time-loop technique. Ultimately, Happy Death Day earns its homages to Vertigo, Psycho, and Sixteen Candles. She is believable as the snotty sorority sister, the scared and confused murder victim, and the strong woman who not only finds clues about her killer with each death but learns a lot about herself.

If you want a film that scares the living hell out of you, "Happy Death Day" isn't the movie for you.

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